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Chryst hopes Pitt isn’t haunted by previous Carrier Dome collapses

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Pitt coach Paul Chryst can’t claim to know how his team will perform Saturday at Syracuse.
Who can know?
Pitt started the season 3-1, almost cruelly raising fans’ hopes, but now finds itself in a 2-4 stretch, with only one victory against a respectable team (Notre Dame) since Sept. 28.
At 5-5, Pitt is unpredictable, but also matching  its effort in the past two regular seasons when it took 6-6 records into Birmingham for the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Chryst does know this much, though:
“We can’t have the performance we had last year (at Syracuse),” he said Wednesday morning on the ACC coaches’ conference call. Pitt lost to Syracuse, 14-13, on Oct. 5, 2012. It was the Orange’s first victory against an FBS team in a year and broke the Panthers’ seven-game winning streak in the series.
In that game, a fumble in Syracuse territory by tight end Andrew Carswell (since kicked off the team after an off-season arrest) led to a 52-yard return for a touchdown by the Orange’s Dyshawn Davis.
On the other side of the ball, Pitt moved to the Syracuse 10, 29 and 17 in the second half and had only a 27-yard field goal by Kevin Harper to show for it. Quarterback Tino Sunseri was sacked five times and was called for intentional grounding after Pitt moved to the 17 and looked to be seizing control of the game.
Much of the same problems remain at Pitt. After the loss to Syracuse, Sunseri complained, “We’ve got to be able to figure out the protections.”
This season, Sunseri’s successor Tom Savage has been sacked an unhealthy 37 times and will drag a wobbly knee into the Carrier Dome because of Pitt’s inability to handle a pass rush.
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